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How ignoring the pre-trip inspection can cause a truck crash

November 12, 2011 by Steven M. Gursten

Video tip 8 for truck accident attorneys

Here’s the eighth of my series of 13 videos for truck accident lawyers. It’s from a past American Association for Justice truck accident lawyer seminar. This tip explains how a truck accident attorney can prove during the deposition that a trucker performed a negligent pre-trip inspection.

The takeaway: According to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Rule 392.9 (one of the most violated truck regulations) a trucker must inspect all of the truck items and cargo, unless it is a sealed load. When a truck accident attorney goes through the truck driver log books, often that truck lawyer will find that the pre-trip inspection is either not being done, or it is being done incorrectly.

As I write these words, I know there will be some truckers out there who will take issue with what I say. I’ve received a number of comments in the past from some truckers who swear they can do a pre-trip inspection in just a few minutes. Of course, I’ve received the same number from other truck drivers who say that is simply impossible. So, what’s a poor truck accident attorney to do?

The best way to prove that the pre-trip inspection was not completed properly is to simply take the truck driver through every single inspection item during his or her deposition. If the log books show it only took a truck driver 5-15 minutes for a pre-trip, take him through every item and usually the jury will come to the same conclusion that you did: namely, that there is no way for that trucker to finish the inspection safely and correctly within this supposed time frame. I don’t like being lied to, and neither do juries.

Remember, it is usually the company, not the truck driver

I get a lot of requests for help from truckers who are being pushed to break the laws. This comes up a lot with pre-trip inspections and I’ve received quite a few comments from truckers asking for help.

Next week, I will include information to help truckers who feel the companies or the safety director for the trucking company is illegally retaliating against them. The problem, as I often write, is that many truck drivers tell me that their bosses will push them to cut safety corners or to skip on mandatory maintenance to save money. The biggest issue of all is pushing drivers to drive over the hours of service, leaving them fatigued and more prone to causing a terrible truck accident. Pushing truckers to drive over the hours of what is safe is where a quick or skipped inspection is most common. Here’s a blog based on a comment from one of my trucker readers.

Again, next week I’ll post a blog on what to do if you feel this is happening to you.

Steven Gursten is a partner of Michigan Auto Law and one of the top truck accident attorneys in the country. He is past president of the American Association for Justice Truck Accident Litigation Group, and has received the top-reported jury verdict in Michigan for truck lawsuits. Steve was named a Michigan Lawyers Weekly Leader in the Law for his work to promote national truck safety.

Related information to protect yourself:

Why the pre-trip inspection is the most violated safety rule

Michigan truck accident resource center

Finding a Michigan tractor-trailer attorney

Michigan Auto Law exclusively handles car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases throughout the entire state of Michigan. We have offices in Farmington Hills, Sterling Heights, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Detroit. Call (248) 353-7575 to speak with one of our truck accident attorneys today.

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